Cody Tapsell was the hero of the night Wednesday, scoring both goals, including the overtime winner, as the Wellesley Applejacks advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 2-1 victory.
The win gave the Jacks a 4-1 edge, eliminating the Delhi Travellers.
After a scoreless first period, Tapsell scored on the power play just 18 seconds into the middle frame. Delhi responded at 12:50, and the game remained scoreless until Tapsell ended it 8:02 into OT.
The win capped a strong run that began a week earlier, with the Jacks opening the SOJHL’s McConnell Conference playoffs on a victorious note. The team would lose only Game 3 of the series, a 2-0 decision January 26. That loss was sandwiched between 3-0 and 4-1 victories the day before and after.
Last weekend began on a high note, with the Jacks taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Wellesley scored twice in the first period and never looked back. Bret McDonald got things going at 15:07, with assists from Reid Denstedt and Coleton Madge. Patrick Wiejak (Josh Herd, Tyler Eckert) made it 2-0 at 19:54.
Head coach Kevin Fitzpatrick said the game did not look good for the Jacks but goalie Corey Tuffnail proved to be the team’s saving grace.
The back-and-forth action continued in the second, but the Jacks struck again in the dying seconds of the frame, as Steve Tate found another chink in Delhi’s armour, assisted by Troy Williams and Denstedt.
But the Travellers would not take defeat lying down as they came back to face a deflated Wellesley the next day.
Delhi outshot Wellesley 12-6 in the first frame, but Jacks’ netminder Tuffnail was sharp. It wasn’t until 6:27 into the second period that Delhi would take a one-point lead; one of two goals that would make it a Travellers victory that night as the team got past Tuffnail a second time at 15:52.
On the road the next day, the Jacks took a turn for the better as they again beat Travellers in a close game. Delhi was strong out of the gate taking the first and only goal of the opening period at 9:28. The team would earn themselves a two-point lead by 4:46 in the second period with no goals in sight for Wellesley. The Jacks stirred themselves in the third period, however, for a late but effective hustle, potting two goals by Williams (at 4:25) and Luke Rose (at 5:14). Delhi would break the 2-2 tie at 8:35 but would not keep their lead for long as Tapsell buried the puck at 11:57. By the end of the game the Jacks and Travellers were well matched, clocking in with nine shots on net each and heading into an overtime period that would prove fruitless for both.
It wasn’t until the second overtime period when Devon Wagner stepped up to bury the puck for the final and winning goal at 0:56.
“We scored three goals in three shifts and really took over the game. They’ve got a lot of injuries and they’re a good hockey team. I think we finally wore them out and we played very well,” said head coach Kevin Fitzpatrick after Sunday’s game.